Receiving Sympathy With Grace | Anchors Aweigh

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Receiving Sympathy With Grace

Believe it or not, this is a thing, and I never realized it until I went through the storm of losing Taylor. People have been wonderful to Parker and me. Everyone has been so sympathetic toward our situation, and we have been overcome with gratefulness to have such a strong support system. 

I won't lie though, there are stages of grief where certain sympathetic comments are hard to swallow. The one that's been tough for me? "I know how hard this is for you". When someone says this, I cringe a little bit inside. There is a part of me that wants to unleash and tell them, no, they have no idea how hard this is because they aren't experiencing it. They didn't lose a child at 18 weeks 5 days on November 23, 2014. They. have. no. idea. It's so easy to give into this anger and resent people who make that comment. Yes, they mean well, but it's tough to give them the satisfaction of thinking they actually know how hard this is. 

The thing is, when we go through really tough situations, we tend to think we get a free pass. To an extent, we do. Learning how to live life again was not an overnight thing, at least for me. I've done it all. I've skipped out on social situations because I didn't want to see anyone. I cried in a closet so I didn't make a scene over Christmas. I've bitten my lip so hard to keep from crying that it goes numb in pain. I'm getting better every day, but it's not an overnight thing. I'm usually not this emotional, but after losing Taylor, I get a free pass to cry. I don't, however, get a free pass to snap at people or lash out at them. 

What I've had to realize is that everyone has been through something hard in their lives. Whether it be a health issue or losing a loved one, everyone has endured pain. I don't know what they've gone through because only they truly know what they've gone through. Even when people talk about losing a child, I am very careful to never say "I know how hard it is". Each person handles grief differently, and I can't pretend to know how they are feeling.

I don't think I will ever enjoy hearing someone tell me they know how hard this is, but I have an obligation as a Christian to respond to their sympathy with grace. Just a little nod of thanks will go a long way, and if someone is taking the time to talk with me about my journey, it means they care. There are stages of grief where you want to be angry, and those are the times where you have to make a conscious effort to choose grace. This is a lesson I never expected to need to learn, but it's one I'm glad I did. We are called to show grace, even through the tough stuff. 



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9 comments :

Cheri @ Overactive Blogger said...

Honey, I'm so so sorry. I am SO sorry. You are a superwoman for dealing with something so difficult.

Melissa said...

I will NEVER understand the pain you've experienced, or the depth of the loss that you've had to cope with, but you're a wonderful, gracious woman through this whole process. Chelsea, the Lord will bless you tenfold…of this, I'm sure :)

Elizabeth said...

God bless you in this journey!! I don't know how hard it is, but I know I can't even imagine how great the pain must be.

Bailey Kay said...

I remember losing my Papaw on my birthday and feeling the same thing-- upset when people made those types of comments. Everyone kept saying how sorry they were and how they missed him too, and I just remember thinking "You don't have to be reminded of his loss every year on your birthday." Looking back on it, they were just trying to express their sympathies and they never meant to hurt my feelings. Thankfully I never snapped at anyone about it. I try to always be careful when I'm expressing my condolences. I usually just say "I'm so sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there's anything I can do. I'm praying for you."

Jen said...

I can relate to this in so many ways. Sending so much love your way!

Janelle Vannice said...

I can definitely relate to this... people would tell me they knew how bad I felt when I lost my dad unexpectedly in high school... yet they still had both parents alive. I couldn't understand what would even provoke them to say that, but you're absolutely right: everyone has been through something difficult and has pain in their lives, and it's so hard to compare pain but also so hard NOT to compare pain. I think you've done an excellent job at handling this - far better than most people, I'm sure. Hang in there!

Diane @ DD Kimball Road said...

Loss is so hard....and everyone deals with it differently. I commend you for opening up about your feelings here on the internet. I couldn't really describe how I felt in words when my father passed, and then again when we lost our first pregnancy. I basically just described the process. To hear your emotions and feel your pain through your words makes me feel closer to you. Maybe that's what people mean when they say "I know how hard this is for you." Please know that we followers of Anchors Aweigh love you and Parker and hope your journey leads you somewhere great! <3!!!

Hana R said...

I am so encouraged by this blog post!

kelly forbes said...

Your one of the strongest girls I know...I look up to you a lot. Your posts are always inspiring...thank you for always sharing your heart.

__kelly
P.s. I'm not sure if I told you or not but I recently started a new blog... Heybelly.com

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